Is your business being stalked?
They say imitation is the sincerest flattery form.
Yet its effect on the source (you) can range from mildly inspiring to downright maddening.
Let’s table some shades, to colour this copycat world.
I once had a client at the bleeding edge of their field.
They were so ahead of their time, almost everything they did was a first.
Shortly into our relationship, they told me about their ‘shadow’.
This was a sole-trader competitor who mirrored everything they did – changing it just enough to avoid prosecution.
I checked him out. Sure enough, his business name, logo and corporate colours were strikingly similar to my client’s.
My client said that when they redid their website, so did he. Same buttons, same order, with just a few tweaks to make it ‘his’.
When they introduced a product, he did likewise, ensuring his name was slightly different (but easily mistaken for the original).
Every time they did a media release, so did he.
My client said they’d decided not to spend time, money and tears chasing their shadow – especially given success was uncertain.
Instead, they viewed him as a reminder to stay sharp.
But, like a burr under a saddle, he still irritated them.
I thought their approach enlightened.
When one of my short stories started popping up on the internet, I had mixed feelings.
If a site named me and linked to my original, that was OK (though a heads-up would’ve been nice).
But when some mongrel ‘scraped’ (lifted, pinched, stole) my content and passed it off as theirs on their (happily now defunct) site, I was livid.
Later on, however, I did feel motivated to write another story.
So perhaps even scum have a role in the commercial pond.
The fashion industry appals me.
When a top designer reveals a youbeaut shoe, some brands trip over themselves to copy it.
I’m not talking cheap knock-offs (that’s another whole post).
I mean big fashion houses who literally take a new product, pull it to bits, then reconstitute the elements to pass it off as their own design.
Sometimes the result is identical.
I imagine this really pisses off original designers.
I don’t think this kind of ‘flattery’ would inspire me to produce fresh ideas each season.
How about you?
What’s mine is yours
Do people copy your stuff?
Is it flattering or frustrating?
Do you let it slide or hunt them down?
Do you ‘flatter’ others by ‘adapting’ their ideas?
How do you think it makes them feel?
so I can pass it off as